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How to Find Notes on a Guitar

Learn how to find the notes on a guitar in this Howcast video.


Let's talk about finding every note on the guitar. So, if you know anything about music, the musical alphabet goes from A to G, then it starts all over again. It goes on forever. You have A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and then it starts again on A. So in order to find any note on the guitar, and really any instrument, you have to remember just a couple of things, a couple of rules, right. So on the guitar - between every letter is 2 frets. That's called a hold step, but it's just 2 frets. So, between G and A--2 frets. Between A and B--2 frets, right. The only exceptions to the rule are between E and F, and between B and C, it's only 1 fret apart. For instance, here's B. Here's C, right next door. All right. Here's E. Here's F, right next to it. So if you can remember that – there's 2 frets between every letter except B and C, and E and F - you can find every note on the guitar, as long as you know the starting point of every string.

So, if you remember, we have E, we have A, D, G, B and E – those are your starting points. This is E, so remember what I said- right next door is F. That was one of the exceptions to the rule. And then we're going to find after F, of course, comes G. Now remember, between F and G is 2 frets. Here is F. Here is G, right. So if this is G, the next note in the musical alphabet is A, right. So, from G to A - 2 frets. From A to B – 2 frets. And from B to C, that's one of the exceptions. So from B to C is only 1 fret. So there it is. Here's B. Here's C, right. So now we're up to C. Here's C. 2 frets away from that is D. And then here's D, and 2 frets away from that is E.

If you notice we've skipped some frets and those are the black keys on the piano. They're called sharps and flats. So let's talk about that for a second. Sharps raise a note 1 fret for us. Flat does the opposite. It lowers the note 1 fret. So, this is raising-- going this way. This is flat- this way--lowering. So, we have F. We have G right. We talked about that. In between F and G is F sharp or G flat--same exact note. So, here's E. Here's F. Here's G, but in between, F sharp or G flat, right. If you remember, we went that far. Here's G to A, but in between there we have a black key, G sharp or A flat. Here's A. Here's B. But in between there is A sharp or B flat.

Now here's where you can get a little messed up. Here's B but here's C, but there's no black key between B and C. -- Remember the rule, right. -- So between B and C there's no sharp or flat. Here's C and here's D, but in between there is C sharp or D flat. -- Same exact note. -- Here's D and here's E again. We've reached the double dot, the 12th fret. That's where the guitar starts again. So here's D. Here's E, but in between there is D sharp or E flat.

So, now you know the rules, right. -- Between every letter- 2 frets, except B and C, and E and F. -- And then between those you know that there are sharps and flats. You can use that to find any note on the guitar, as long as you know the starting point of every string. So, let's say we're going to find all the notes on the G string right. So here we are on the G string, and we know from G to A there's 2 frets. Those are part of our rule. So here's G [boom , boom] there's 2 frets, and there's A. Let's say that we wanted to continue. Here's A. Well, we know that to B it's 2 frets, right. So there's B. Let's find notes on the 2nd string, the B string. So here's B, imagine it's a little spot back here. Well B to C, that's one of those special ones right. So we're going to go from B to C. It's only 1 fret, right. Let's see if we can figure out what the next note is, right. We know from C to D is 2 frets, so, what is that note? Well, it's C sharp, right, or D flat. Now, you can find any note on the guitar.

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